Myrtle Beach Festivals

Story by Lois Carol Wheatley

New vocabulary term: Festevent

Myrtle Beach has a wide spectrum of festivals and events ranging from fun opportunities to overindulge to solemn occasions demanding observance and respect. We're going to lump all those together in the list that follows, and needed a new term to cover the whole special events category. What follows is a round-up of most of the many festevents that take place along the Grand Strand, the majority of them between the months of March and October.

This list is organized by category -- arts & crafts, beverage, classic car, dance, ethnic, family, food, motorcycles, music, patriotic and sports - but some defy categorization, or there's a lot of overlap. So it is real tempting to invent more new terminology. You might just have to look around if you want to plan your vacation around your favorite festevent, since a food occasion might also include beverages and art (foobeart?).

Arts & crafts

Art in the Park begins in early April in Chapin Park, adjacent to the public library at 16th Avenue North and Kings Highway. The April event is the first of several events from spring to fall, and The Waccamaw Arts and Crafts Guild has been hosting them for 40 years. Local and regional artists showcase their wares, and events in April, June, October and November attract visitors and vendors from far-flung points up and down the East Coast. Some shows are held in cooperation with the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum and some are held at Valor Park in the Market Commons. Call (843) 448-7690.

Craftsmen's Classic Arts and Crafts Festival comes to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center the first weekend in August and attracts approximately 250 vendors. Gilmore Shows puts on this annual extravaganza and charges a nominal admission fee for a three-day pass. Call (336) 282-5550.

Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival is an annual event of the palatial, Moorish castle-style estate of railroad magnate Archer Huntington and his sculptor wife Anna Hyatt Huntington, founders of Brookgreen Gardens. It takes place in September, a celebration in Huntington Beach State Park of more than 100 local artists working in every medium from glass to baskets. Call (843) 237-4440.

Art in the Park closes out its summer season in October (some years as late as November) in Chapin Park, 1400 North Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. Waccamaw Arts & Crafts Guild continues its repertoire of original paintings, woodworking, photography, jewelry, fabric, glass, metal, pottery and stone. Call (843) 446-7471.

Live Oak Art Festival is held under the shady oaks at the historic Horry County Courthouse in October. Conway is just a short drive from Myrtle Beach, and its annual visual and performing arts festival is held in conjunction with the town's annual fall festival, giving the festival a little something for everyone. The festival brings in three stages of live entertainment, a car show, dozens of local artists and craftsmen and thousands of visitors. Call (843) 248-4527.

Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art is a cultural event that runs the gamut from concerts and symphonies to wine tastings and theatrical performances, all to benefit the non-profit Grand Strand Exclusive. Over the course of a couple weeks in October the festival line-up changes every year, but usually it involves a gallery crawl, a couple concerts, a dance at The Reserve Golf Club of Pawleys Island, and fireworks. During Family Day you might learn something about the 16th century Italian tradition of street painting as demonstrated at the Chalk Walk. Call (843) 626-8911.

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